Best Places in Visit in Costa Rica: Costa Rica is tucked between the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, with rugged landscapes rich in natural attractions such as volcanoes, rainforests, beaches and unusual wildlife. Long stretches of powdery white beaches line the coastlines, flanked by turquoise oceans and lush rainforests.
The beaches provide a number of fun activities ranging from snorkeling to catamaran tours and scuba diving. Inland, in the mountainous regions, zip-lining, waterfalls, volcanoes and bird-watching are just some of the adventurous activities you can participate in while visiting Costa Rica. With so many things to do and places to see, we’re giving you our recommendations of the best places to visit in Costa Rica.
9 of the best places to visit in Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio National Park
This area is known for its excellent beaches, exuberant rainforests and wildlife, including colorful birds and the lustrous rainbow of fluttering butterflies. Hike along the trails and spot the cheeky capuchin monkey and sloths hanging out in the trees. If you opt for a guided tour, you’ll be more likely to spot some of the rarer species because the guides know precisely where these animals like to frequent.
On the beachfront, beginner surfers enjoy getting to grips with the sport in the calm waters. Likewise, the clear water is great for swimming. On the hillside, you will find a variety of restaurants and boutiques selling curios and clothing.
The town of Puerto Viejo is a lively and vibrant town, one of the most popular places to visit in Costa Rica for young travelers. Aside from the pristine beaches and excellent surf conditions, there is always something festive happening every night, making for a fun party atmosphere.
It’s not all partying here, though. There are quieter parts of town for travelers seeking tranquility, also located right on the beach. We’d also recommend a visit to the jaguar rehabilitation center which rescues and rehabilitates all sorts of wild animals and releases them back into the wild when they are well again.
Monteverde Cloud Forests
Moteverde is an ecotourism hub with diverse flora, fauna and wildlife – including the mysterious quetzal birds. Clouds often blanket the forests, providing the moisture needed to sustain the habitats. Besides abundant birdlife, Monteverde is also home to jaguars, howler monkeys, tropical frogs and pumas. A guided hike is one of the best ways to see everything in the park or alternatively, an exhilarating canopy tour through the forests.
This is one of the best places in Costa Rica for volcano viewing. The cone-shaped mountain regularly steams from its crater, providing a thrilling adventure for all ages. Arenal was formant until a massive eruption in 1968 and remains active to this day. Visitors can expect to see anything from clouds of ash or red hot lava flowing down the slopes of the volcano.
There are a number of hiking trails in the area, waterfalls to explore and diverse wildlife to discover.
Corcovado National Park
Corcovado is one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica because of its sheer beauty and remoteness. Located on the Osa Peninsula, is not as easy to get to as other popular tourist attractions, which makes it a much quieter spot to visit.
The park is 424 square kilometers – the biggest in the country. The deserted beaches, rugged landscape and great surf make Corcovado a popular destination to camp, surf and swim. There are extensive hiking trails for experienced hikers with amazing wildlife to be spotted along the way. There are also plenty of luxurious lodges in the area to allow for a longer stay.
Poas Volcano is an active composite volcano made up of visible layers of rock and ash with central sulfur lakes so still it looks like a painting. This volcano last erupted in 2019 and has in fact erupted 40 times since 1828 – making it a very active volcano to this day! Despite its high activity, the volcano is completely safe to visit with a number of safety features in place to ensure visitors are well protected.
Tortuguero National Park
On the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, lies the Tortuguero National Park, home to hundreds of nesting turtles. Accessible only by boat ride or a plane, the park provides a safe breeding ground for sea turtles, hence the main activity here is turtle watching.
The currents and surf are very rough along this stretch of coastline, making the beaches unsuitable for swimming or surfing. There is also shark activity in this area posing a safety risk. After watching the turtles, hit the hiking trails or take a boat ride along the canals. You may be lucky enough to spot kinkajous, sloths and native monkeys.
Rincon de la Viega National Park
This massive 34000 acre park is home to two volcanoes, 32 rivers and diverse flora and fauna. One of the most popular activities for fit visitors is the 6 mile hike to the summit of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano.
More relaxed activities include swimming in the hot springs and waterfalls, picnics, horseback riding and for the outdoorsy type, camping. Look out for some of the diverse animal species including sloths, monkeys and jaguars. Be sure to book tickets for activities and tours in advance.
Cahuita is one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica for relaxation. With only one bar and a focus on outdoor activities like hiking, swimming and snorkeling, most visitors choose to relax on the beach with a book in one hand and cocktails in the other. Restaurants in the area are heavily influenced by the Afro-Caribbean culture making for an interesting culinary experience.
Costa Rica offers tourists some amazing adventures and experiences for all ages and activity levels. From daring to visit active volcanoes and zip-lining across cloud forests to relaxing in hot springs and swimming in bright blue waterfalls, there are so many wonderful places to visit in Costa Rica.